Access is everything in TCGs. How many cards can you touch? How quickly can you reach the ones you want? Which cards do you even have access to? In My Hero Academia, these questions are answered by your symbol. Different symbols can decide your play style even more than your chosen character. While a symbol like Fire is aggressive and has access to its own draw engine, symbols like Void rely on control and limiting your opponent’s resources.
Today, we’re going to dive into the Water symbol, one of the most difficult symbols to play against. Water decks are built to be defensive puzzles with many ways to minimize damage, increase your opponent’s progressive difficulty and slow attacks’ speed. Cards like Sticky Balls and Tongue Whip fill up the opposing card pool whether you’re blocking or attacking, which really shows the magic of the symbol. You can’t play cards if you can’t pass checks and it’s really difficult to pass checks when your cards are uselessly clinging to your card pool like Mineta’s gelatinous hair ornaments.
Filling up the opposing card pool is a difficult thing for most decks to fight against. In fact, it’s more reliable than trying to cancel effects, reduce speed and damage, or anything else for the simple reason that every deck has to rely on progressive difficulty allowing them to play cards. In fact, there’s only one card that can clear several of these cards from the card pool (Capture Evil-Doers) and most decks don’t even make room for it in the sideboard.
Jiro was able to climb to #3 in my power rankings, largely thanks to a similar card (Specialist of Sound) which many looked at as the best Foundation in the first format. Now, Water sports three of them. Creepy Realization, Ice Gliding and Graceful Maneuvers are some of the best defense cards today, keeping your opponent’s attacks’ speed and damage manageable for reusable commit costs. Even better than that, you get access to Wall Cling, which often saves lives; turning partial blocks into full blocks.
While defense wins championships, we all know offense wins games! The effectiveness of this kit of attacks is undeniable. The Ranged package of Todoroki’s Frigid Heatwave, Giant Ice Wall and Ice Storm were already impressive. If you’re running Froppy, Crow and Frog Takedown is one of the best attacks in the game, sometimes readying more Foundations than it took to play. Now with Crimson Rampage, Water welcomes Half-Hot Ignition to join three Throw attacks on the symbol, allowing for great control over momentum. Shoto’s Cinder Convection adds another high damage attack that your opponent will have to worry about.
The cards on the symbol are top notch, but the characters are what makes the symbol shine. With Tsuyu Asui (I) rising to the top of the format recently, she sets the stage for Shoto Todoroki (II) to shine in the coming months. These two characters are finally bringing enough heat on the offensive side to take down major events, with Shoto’s raw power and Froppy’s long strings of attacks. And with that power comes a unique ability to switch gears that’s only available here in the Swamp symbol; Kamui Woods and Toru Hagakure.
Siding out a character can be a very effective tactic to get an edge on your opponent. While Shoto and Asui have loads of offense on their character’s effects, sometimes they need more defense to outlast an opponent. Each of them can side into the two most sided characters to this point, Toru and Kamui. Each of them are great defense characters in very different ways. Toru will shut down decks that rely on long Enhance Steps like Tokoyami I or Froppy I. Meanwhile, Kamui can combat decks with larger hand sizes that serve up several attacks like All Might III or Ochaco I.
As the format evolves, Water looks to continue its prominence. Without even mentioning the effectiveness of Hanta Sero I or Minoru Mineta II, the case for Water to take another step towards being the #1 symbol seems to be mounting. Best of luck Heroes, and I’ll see you on the tables!